Tag Archives: Franklin Raines

Obama administration pressuring banks to lower mortgage lending standards

Remember the housing bubble and the mortgage lending crisis of 2008? Well guess what – the Democrats want an encore.

Investors Business Daily explains.

Bankers warn the administration’s new “disparate impact” home-lending regulation will wreak havoc in credit markets, replacing merit standards with political correctness.

The Department of Housing and Urban Development issued the controversial new anti-discrimination rule earlier this year. Now enforced by every federal regulator dealing with banks, it has the effect of criminalizing credit standards used to qualify borrowers for home loans.

Last week, the Mortgage Bankers Association and Independent Community Bankers of America jointly filed a Supreme Court brief arguing that under the new HUD rule:

“Virtually every lender in the United States could be sued for using non-discriminatory credit standards simply because variations in economic and credit characteristics produce different credit outcomes among racial and ethnic groups.”

In their 33-page brief, filed in support of a landmark housing case pending before the court, they complain that HUD recently launched 22 separate investigations against lenders alleging that their policies of requiring minimum credit scores “had a disparate impact on minorities in violation of the Fair Housing Act.”

Dozens of similar actions have been brought against lenders by Attorney General Eric Holder. He is basing claims of bias on statistics showing differences in loan outcomes by race while ignoring racially neutral credit-risk factors that explain those differences.

Under disparate impact’s low standard of proof, the government doesn’t have to show lenders intentionally discriminated against borrowers.

For the first time in history, businesses are being ordered to justify the necessity of a certain level of return on investment given the racial impact resulting from the use of credit-score thresholds.

The mortgage trade groups argue the formalized disparate-impact rule also effectively criminalizes other legitimate business practices, including minimum down-payment requirements, sliding loan rates and the charging of brokers’ fees.

Banks today face increased litigation risk simply by complying with sensible lending standards for hedging against risk.

[…]The social engineers and race demagogues in this administration are trying to enforce a balance in financial outcomes that risks another collapse of the housing market. The Supreme Court must put an end to a scheme so reckless, unfair and unconstitutional.

Does that sound familiar? Yes. In the last recession, the government forced banks to make risky loans in order to increase home ownership. That is exactly what gave us the 2008 recession.

Excerpt:

[Democrat] Congressman [Barney] Frank, of course, blamed the financial crisis on the failure adequately to regulate the banks. In this, he is following the traditional Washington practice of blaming others for his own mistakes. For most of his career, Barney Frank was the principal advocate in Congress for using the government’s authority to force lower underwriting standards in the business of housing finance. Although he claims to have tried to reverse course as early as 2003, that was the year he made the oft-quoted remark, “I want to roll the dice a little bit more in this situation toward subsidized housing.” Rather than reversing course, he was pressing on when others were beginning to have doubts.

His most successful effort was to impose what were called “affordable housing” requirements on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in 1992. Before that time, these two government sponsored enterprises (GSEs) had been required to buy only mortgages that institutional investors would buy–in other words, prime mortgages–but Frank and others thought these standards made it too difficult for low income borrowers to buy homes. The affordable housing law required Fannie and Freddie to meet government quotas when they bought loans from banks and other mortgage originators.

At first, this quota was 30%; that is, of all the loans they bought, 30% had to be made to people at or below the median income in their communities. HUD, however, was given authority to administer these quotas, and between 1992 and 2007, the quotas were raised from 30% to 50% under Clinton in 2000 and to 55% under Bush in 2007.

[…]It is certainly possible to find prime mortgages among borrowers below the median income, but when half or more of the mortgages the GSEs bought had to be made to people below that income level, it was inevitable that underwriting standards had to decline. And they did. By 2000, Fannie was offering no-downpayment loans. By 2002, Fannie and Freddie had bought well over $1 trillion of subprime and other low quality loans. Fannie and Freddie were by far the largest part of this effort, but the FHA, Federal Home Loan Banks, Veterans Administration and other agencies–all under congressional and HUD pressure–followed suit. This continued through the 1990s and 2000s until the housing bubble–created by all this government-backed spending–collapsed in 2007. As a result, in 2008, before the mortgage meltdown that triggered the crisis, there were 27 million subprime and other low quality mortgages in the US financial system. That was half of all mortgages. Of these, over 70% (19.2 million) were on the books of government agencies like Fannie and Freddie, so there is no doubt that the government created the demand for these weak loans; less than 30% (7.8 million) were held or distributed by the banks, which profited from the opportunity created by the government. When these mortgages failed in unprecedented numbers in 2008, driving down housing prices throughout the U.S., they weakened all financial institutions and caused the financial crisis.

Reduced lending standards caused the last recession, and now the same party that pushed for reduced lending standards are pushing for reduced lending standards again. Hold onto your hats, there’s a storm coming.

Republicans want Obama to cancel Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac bonuses

From Fox News.

Excerpt:

A Republican senator is calling on President Obama to cancel the $12.8 million in bonuses that were approved for 10 executives at the government-seized mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac that received a $170 billion taxpayer-funded bailout.

“I am calling on the president of the United States to cancel those bonuses and explain to the American people, the taxpayers who bailed out Freddie and Fannie, why he continues to reward failure,” Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., said at a news conference Tuesday.

The two housing giants have received about $141 billion in taxpayer funds since the government took them over in 2008 during the financial crisis.

Politico first reported the $6.46 million in bonuses for the top five officers at Freddie Mac — including $2.3 million for CEO Charles E. Haldeman Jr., who is stepping down next year — and $6.33 million for Fannie Mae officials, including $2.37 million for CEO Michael Williams, for meeting modest goals.

A second bonus installment for Freddie executives in 2010 has yet to be reported to the Securities and Exchange Commission, Politico reported.

So where will these million dollar bonuses come from?

Fannie and Freddie Bailout Chart
Fannie and Freddie Bailout Chart

They come from taxpayers. Obama’s millionaires and billionaires get the bailouts, you get the bill.

In case you are looking for a good summary of the subprime mortgage crisis, read this recent article from Investors Business Daily.

Democrat Barney Frank admits his role in causing the recession

First, watch this video of Barney Frank obstructing regulators and defending Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. (H/T Verum Serum)

Now look at this Boston Globe article.

Excerpt:

When US Representative Barney Frank spoke in a packed hearing room on Capitol Hill seven years ago, he did not imagine that his words would eventually haunt a reelection bid.

The issue that day in 2003 was whether mortgage backers Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were fiscally strong. Frank declared with his trademark confidence that they were, accusing critics and regulators of exaggerating threats to Fannie’s and Freddie’s financial integrity. And, the Massachusetts Democrat maintained, “even if there were problems, the federal government doesn’t bail them out.’’

Now, it’s clear he was wrong on both points — and that his words have become a political liability as he fights a determined challenger to win a 16th term representing the Fourth Congressional District. Fannie and Freddie collapsed in 2008, forcing the federal government to buy $150 billion worth of stock in the enterprises and $1.36 trillion worth of mortgage-backed securities.

Frank, in his most detailed explanation to date about his actions, said in an interview he missed the warning signs because he was wearing ideological blinders. He said he had worried that Republican lawmakers and the Bush administration were going after Fannie and Freddie for their own ideological reasons and would curtail the lenders’ mission of providing affordable housing.

“I was late in seeing it, no question,’’ Frank said about the lenders’ descent into insolvency.

Republican Sean Bielat, who is trying to unseat Frank, has been hammering away at him with a website titled “Retire Barney’’ that features clips of Frank at the 2003 hearing and elsewhere. During debates this week, he called Frank “one of the leaders of the economic disaster’’ because he supported Fannie and Freddie when they were taking the risks that led to their collapse.

You can watch Barney Frank debate Sean Bielat. Bielat is 35 years old, while Frank is 70 years old and looks sleepy.

I think Barney Frank is the most responsible for the recession

Here he is in 2005 claiming that fears of a housing bubble are unfounded.

Here’s the timeline showing who wanted to regulate Fannie and Freddie, and who blocked regulation.

Here’s video from a hearing showing Democrats opposing regulations:

That’s right – Republicans wanted to regulate Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and Democrats said Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are “doing a tremendous job”.

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac had paid the Democrats off handsomely during multiple election cycles, but I’m sure that the Democrats’ opposition to regulations had nothing to do with those political contributions.

Here’s Barney Frank endorsing Obamacare’s public option as a way to reach single-payer health care.

If you had to blame the recession on one person, who would it be?

My pick would be the Massachusetts Democrat Congressman Barney Frank.

Here he is in 2005 claiming that fears of a housing bubble are unfounded.

Here’s the timeline showing who wanted to regulate Fannie and Freddie, and who blocked regulation.

Here’s video from a hearing showing Democrats opposing regulations:

That’s right – Republicans wanted to regulate Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and Democrats said Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are “doing a tremendous job”.

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac had paid the Democrats off handsomely during multiple election cycles, but I’m sure that the Democrats’ opposition to regulations had nothing to do with those political contributions.

I found these videos at Ace of Spades, thanks to ECM.

Republicans want bonuses for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac CEOs canceled

Rep. Michele Bachmann

Story here from CNS News.

Excerpt:

Seventy Republican members of Congress want Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner to cancel up to $6 million in bonuses and deferred compensation — approved before  Christmas 2009 — for the chief executive officers of the failed mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

“(T)here’s a letter that’s going to Sec. Geithner from a number of us calling for a rescission of those bonuses,” Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) told CNSNews.com Wednesday.

On Christmas Eve, at the same time the Obama administration announced that it was removing any cap on the amount of taxpayer aid to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the failed mortgage giants announced that they had received approval from their financial regulator to pay $42 million in compensation packages to 12 top executives for 2009.

The compensation packages included up to $6 million each to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac chief executives. For the CEOs, annual compensation consists of a base salary of $900,000, $3.1 million in deferred compensation and incentive pay of as much as $2 million. Public disclosure that the retention bonuses were being copnsidered first surfaced in the Spring.

And naturally my favorite member of Congress was involved:

“(We are pushing) for an ending — an unwinding, if you will — of the U.S. owning Fannie and Freddie. We want out of this sinking business as quickly as we possibly can, and we want to pull the plug on an unlimited taxpayer bailout of Freddie and Fannie,” Bachmann said.

[…]“When Sec. Geithner said that there’d be unlimited taxpayer funding continuing to go into this sinking ship, and then bonuses they’re given?,” she said. “On what basis?  What did they do?  What was the criteria that they could possibly be given a bonus?  The fact that they got unlimited taxpayer money?”

Bachman was referring to Treasury’s announcement that it would send unlimited tax money to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, thereby eliminating the current $400 billion cap on emergency aid that Treasury can give without having to come back to Congress for authorization.

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are closely tied to Democrats.

Consider this Fox News story.

Excerpt:

Freddie and Fannie used huge lobbying budgets and political contributions to keep regulators off their backs.

A group called the Center for Responsive Politics keeps track of which politicians get Fannie and Freddie political contributions. The top three U.S. senators getting big Fannie and Freddie political bucks were Democrats and No. 2 is Sen. Barack Obama.

Now remember, he’s only been in the Senate four years, but he still managed to grab the No. 2 spot ahead of John Kerry — decades in the Senate — and Chris Dodd, who is chairman of the Senate Banking Committee.

Fannie and Freddie have been creations of the congressional Democrats and the Clinton White House, designed to make mortgages available to more people and, as it turns out, some people who couldn’t afford them.

Fannie and Freddie have also been places for big Washington Democrats to go to work in the semi-private sector and pocket millions. The Clinton administration’s White House Budget Director Franklin Raines ran Fannie and collected $50 million. Jamie Gorelick — Clinton Justice Department official — worked for Fannie and took home $26 million. Big Democrat Jim Johnson, recently on Obama’s VP search committee, has hauled in millions from his Fannie Mae CEO job.

More here about how the Democrats caused the recession.